The tension was high as the sun rose on the final day of bumps, as we found ourselves chasing our boathousemates – Peterhouse W2. The row-up was strong and resolute, fuelled by our epic chase and bump of Queens’ W3 the day before. Nerves were high; though soothed during marshalling by attempts to finish off all the Haribo we had accumulated over the week, they were refounded as we pulled in at our starting station. In due course though, the cannon had sounded and we were racing off the start with grim determination. This transferred into a powerful start, and we quickly gained a whistle on Peterhouse. We continued to gain on them, and a good line by our cox Christina around First Post Corner led to a second whistle as we entered the gut – we were half a boat length away and still gaining! Alas, it was not to be. We continued to gain as we raced up to Grassy Corner, but as we came round I saw the panicked look on Christina’s face – Peterhouse were significantly gaining on St Ed’s W1. A burst of energy pushed us on as we came onto Plough Reach, triggered by our coaches’ screams of “Now or never, girls!” but it was not enough, and Peterhouse bumped St Ed’s just after the Plough. Despite the disappointment, we held our heads high and rowed the rest of the course with similar drive. The row home was similarly determined though slightly more relaxed as we fulfilled our namesake of the banterous boat with a cheerful rendition of the Lion King soundtrack. Congrats to Peterhouse, and perhaps we will find ourselves with a rematch next Mays! Katie, Stroke, W3
W2 met at the boathouse on Saturday determined to prove that whilst lucky crews get blades, good crews go up three. A combination of the warm, though very breezy weather and the fact that W4 had managed to bump again meant that our row down was relaxed; we made the most of our marshalling by sunbathing (or in some cases having a nap in preparation for May Week!)
The race itself was short – our start reflected the unsettled weather, but we managed to have a whistle on Selwyn as we passed under the motorway bridge and bumped them before First Post Corner. Wearing greenery for the third time this week was amazing (even if the branches seem to have a habit of getting tangled in our hair) and we’re already looking forward to chasing Girton W2 next year!
With less of a gale to contend with W3 could feel confident that we had one less opponent to fight against on Day 3 of bumps. Starting from right underneath the bridge there was no chance of missing the canon when off it a few metres away after a few seconds warning to ‘defend your ears’! After the initial shock of the huge canon blast we got underway to catch Queen’s who had narrowly evaded us on Day 1 having bumped Lucy Cavendish. It seemed to take a long time to gain on Queen’s after Day 2’s record-time bump of Lucy Cavendish but W3 relentlessly kept at the task gaining one whistle on them and then finishing off the bump as Queen’s rounded Ditton Corner, saving Peterhouse who were within a quarter of a canvas of them. Another day another bump for W3!
The banter boat of MECBC took to the river once again, the pain of the gruelling row over of the previous day still fresh in their minds. Queen’s III had got lucky and bumped out quickly by crashing into a spoon barge on the previous day – and we were now chasing said spoon barge. A bump was on the horizon – we could feel it; taste it.
The banter boat lived up to their reputation with a pep talk from coach Pete, who had finished his exams that day, that consisted of, “Row vigorously but delicately…. I’m really really drunk”. Pete then assured me that I could “Cox that Christina… You cox that! Yeah!” With a strong row up and more banter over marshalling – including more words of wisdom from Pete (“Nail time, girls”) the start was upon us. Tension in the air, poised and ready the third boat of MECBC started on the gun with a distinct lack of banter, which was replaced tenacity. However; the tenacity was unnecessary as the spoon barge that was Hughes/Lucy Cavendish preceded their reputation by having an unexpected meeting with the bank alongside and untimely crab. The rest needs no description – a quick few easy strokes allowed for a bump by overtaking.
Pete assured us the next day that he could remember “absolutely nothing” about the bump.
Today we knew it was going to be hard; Emma V appeared stronger than us and so we had to choose one of two options; row as hard as possible at the start in the hope of catching them quickly but then risk being caught due to tiredness, or play it safe and do a decent steady row over. We chose the former option, and so our start was very strong and we kept up the speed for the first part of the race. However, tiredness inevitably kicked in and despite leaving Fitz far behind us, we found they were slowly catching up. Once the first whistle was blown they seemed to release a lot more energy and then suddenly they were gaining on us. Very quickly they were given two and then three whistles, and we had been bumped. We made it past the plough but it was in the final stretch that they caught us. So near yet so far! But tomorrow is another day, and having seen how quickly we rowed away from them initially, there is every possibility of a bump.
When I opened my eyes on this morning of the second day of May Bumps, the very first thought that came to my mind was “REVENGE”. This was to be the day to make up for the long epic row-over of Day 1. We all turned up to the boat house, willing to bump FaT II to get back to chasing Magdalene II for our revenge bump. Passing our victorious W3 crew under Chesterton Bridge, we arrived at the marshalling station in good spirits, singing songs and picking flowers. But we left this bucolic mood on the bank and went back in the boat as fierce as ever. The row down had to be focused and technical, the bump quick and clean. And it was to be so. The first whistle came during our start sequence, 2 and 3 whistles as we rowed under the Motorway Bridge and the bump happened a couple of lengths after the bridge. With the first greenery of the week in our hair, we braced ourselves for the row home in the wind but enjoyed some victorious pausing around Grassy, past the Plough, at the marshaling station of the next division, showing everyone that Murray Edwards W2 was not to be trifled with! WELL HARD
Pauline Pilote, 6, W2
Additional race report from Ola Janusz, stroke, W2 : “We got fat”.
Unfortunately the weather was not as pleasant as we would have hoped for May Bumps, especially when we had to Marshall in the wet and windy conditions for longer than expected due to a re-row in the previous division.
I felt the start was solid, and it was really encouraging to hear a whistle on Churchill quite early into the race, unfortunately this was the closest we got to them today. Hopefully tomorrow we will have more luck in catching up with them! Go MECBC!!
W4 was still on a high after bumping Girton in what was the first Bumps race for a lot of us when we rolled Winston out again this morning at 11.47am.
The anticipation was building and we were all eager to relive the success of the day before as we numbered off from bow and took our first stroke.
Motivated, we had a solid row down the river. We were determined to manage a better, more synchronised start than we did the day before when the nerves got the better of us.
When the four minute cannon went off, we checked our gates and the anxiety started mounting as the final preparations were being made. When the one minute cannon went off and Watson started counting down the seconds, the adrenalin started coursing through my veins. When the cannon finally went off, our start was a lot stronger and more synchronised than it had been the day before. We pushed hard against the strong headwind, and quickly gained speed.
However, by the time we had our first whistle and we were less than half a boat length away from the Emmanuel boat we were chasing, we were already starting to lose stamina and the other crew’s endurance overcame ours, and they broke away at the Reach.
Despite the unfavourable conditions, we managed to maintain a strong rhythm and rowed over. We were all a little disappointed at first but quickly realised that a strategy change and a motivation boost would be enough to get us back on track for day 3 of Bumps. Our start, rhythm and balance were better than they were on our first Bumps experience and we are confident that we can keep improving!
So today was W4’s first experience in Bumps, and what an experience! After a difficult start to the term, we were really happy to have managed to become a strong crew and so excited to be able to take part in Bumps.
After waiting for one crew member to rush over from her last exam, swapping the champagne celebrations for a further stressful situation, we were eager to row down to the start, making sure that we looked good as we passed our rival crews. Haribos at the marshalling point helped us to settle our nerves, but then as soon as the 4 minute canon went off, no amount of sugary jellies could calm the nerves. I really grasped at this point what the coaches had told us about Bumps – that the countdown to the final canon is the tensest moment ever. Boom. Suddenly we were off! After a messy start we managed to power through and it wasn’t long before our cox, Laura, shouted the words we’d all hoped to hear “we’re getting closer girls, we’re gonna catch them up!” The whistles were blaring, the bank party were cheering us on, we were driving like mad. Sitting directly opposite Laura, I could really sense her determination and excitement as we neared Girton.
Bumping them was an incredibly fulfilling moment, and we all lapped up our glory row back to the boathouse, greenery in our hair. Such a great start to Bumps. Let’s repeat it tomorrow, and Friday and Saturday!